McLaren (yes, that McLaren) launches the world’s most powerful street-legal eMTB

McLaren Automotive has announced its return to two-wheeled transportation with a new range of electric mountain bikes.

The flagship Extreme 600 and Sport 600 feature a 600W motor that delivers 161Nm of torque. According to McLaren, this is the most powerful electric mountain bike.

Four models will be available on two platforms. The Sport is a hardtail and the Extreme is a trail-oriented eMTB with a travel distance of 145mm.

Only US residents can purchase 600 series bikes equipped with the 600W motor. The rest of the world has access to the 300 series bikes, which use a limited 300W motor.

In Great Britain you can only own an electric bicycle with a maximum power of 250 W before you need a driver’s license.

The new motorcycles adopt design cues from the brand’s supercars, with the handlebars featuring an LCD panel that mimics an instrument cluster.

McLaren says the bikes are available in limited numbers and can only be ordered via its website. Prices are yet to be confirmed.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen McLaren enter cycling. The brand partnered with Specialized in 2009 to create a limited number of Tarmac and Venge models. The relationship lasted until 2018.

From track to track

McLaren Extreme mountain bike turns the corner
The battery appears to be removable from the bike. – McLaren Automobile

All models feature hand-laid carbon fiber construction. Like its supercars, the McLaren Extreme and Sport use a mid-engine.

Mid-mounted electric bicycle motors offer better driving characteristics than hub drive motors. This is because the weight is placed more centrally and lower to the ground, which improves cornering ability and reduces the unsprung mass of the wheels.

McLaren hasn’t revealed much about the engine, including who produces it, but the flagship’s claimed 161 Nm of torque should provide punchy acceleration on steep terrain.

That’s almost double the 85 Nm peak torque of Bosch’s Performance Line CX motor.

McLaren Extreme mountain bike with large LCD display
This is one of the larger eMTB screens on the market. – McLaren Automobile

The bikes have five power modes: Off, Eco, Trail, Sport and Race. The latter offers 852 W peak power and a top speed of 32 km/h for the 600 W motor.

These modes are selected via the digital display on the integrated one-piece cockpit, which also shows speed, battery life and range.

McLaren Extreme mountain bike with front light
The Extreme appears to have internal headset cable routing for a clean finish. – McLaren Automobile

A headlight under the cockpit appears to be powered by the bike’s battery.

McMullet

McLaren Extreme mountain bike jibbing in the trees
The raw carbon and orange color scheme is reminiscent of the F1 team’s color scheme. – McLaren Automobile

The Sport hardtail model will ride on 29-inch wheels, while the full-suspension Extreme model will use a mullet setup.

Mullet or mixed wheel setups provide better cornering ability due to the smaller wheel at the rear, while still having the fast rolling ability of a larger wheel at the front.

The Extreme has 145mm rear wheel travel, mated to a 160mm fork.

McLaren has not released any details on the battery size or geometry of the motorcycle.

Extreme models will come with SRAM’s XX Eagle AXS electric transmission, which we’ve found to be very good for eMTB applications, while the Sport models will come with SRAM’s GX mechanical drivetrain.

McLaren Extreme mountain bike with orange paint
RockShox Deluxe Select provides control over the rear suspension. – McLaren Automobile

From the images provided, it appears that the Extreme model will have a RockShox Lyrik Select+ fork up front and a Deluxe Select+ in the frame.

In keeping with the Formula 1 theme, the bike appears to be running on Pirelli Scorpion tyres, a name used for Pirelli’s car and mountain bike tyres.

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